Sometimes, your approach shot lands on an island green. Sometimes, it just lands on an island. The difference between the two, as Joel Sjöholm learned Sunday, is how you reach the island.
The European Tour pro made what may very well be the bogey save of 2020 in Sunday’s Hero Open, hopping in a rowboat in order to play his ball from an island back to safety.
The sequence occurred on the par-5 17th hole at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Birmingham, England. After hitting his drive, Sjöholm faced a beefy approach into a green guarded partially by a lake.
A few strokes off the lead, the 35-year-old Swede elected to go for the green on his second shot and blocked it badly. His ball soared right of the green, seemingly destined for the lake until, miraculously, it wound up landing on a small strip of land in the middle of the water.
After consulting with rules officials, it was determined that Sjöholm could play his relief shot from the island. Minutes later, he was scaling down the side of an embankment and into a rinky-dink rowboat with a rope attached to it — a moment you have to see to believe.
After a shaky disembarkment (with several clubs in hand) and a lengthy period of time removing advertising signage from around his lie, Sjöholm found his ball. He lined up from the trees, hit his pitch just beyond the green and two-putted for bogey.
Adventurous? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
But of course, successfully getting his ball to safety was only half of the fun. Then came the return trip, with Sjöholm back into the boat ever so gingerly.
In the end, Sjöholm’s insane 17th hole escapade goes in the scorecard as a rather mundane “6” en route to a T-22 finish. But he certainly won’t forget the story of what is surely the most adventurous bogey save of his career anytime soon (and hopefully, neither will we.)